Back in 1977, one fine Friday night before a SAMI (Saturday Morning Inspection), having finished polishing the floor, making the quarter-bouncing beds that we dared not sleep in
, but rather on
, hiding the dirty laundry beneath a cardboard cutout wrapped in the army-green laundry bag and placed perfectly level and square like a false bottom in the hamper, polishing the sink, rolling all the socks so that they smiled cheerfully, and perfectly spacing each hanger in the closet like so many mutually repellent ions in some state of equidistant neutrality . . . after all that, I departed the room I shared with two other freshmen and marched, squaring my corners as I went, down to the squadron ready room and treated myself to can of soda. Coke I expect; this being before the days of Diet Everything, and my 18-year-old metabolism having no use for Tab. Precious beverage in hand, swinging at my side as I marched back to the room, held upright by a thumb and three fingers extended down the side of the can, the top resting near my palm, I rotated it as I walked so that as I made that final right-angle turn into the room, my index finger was already positioned at the tab, ready to pop it and release that audible sigh of refreshment well-earned.
And pop the tab I did, just barely, before the whole can slipped from my fingertips, still upright, and accelerated steadily toward the floor, still upright, landing with a solid thud, still upright, and resting there for a second, just long enough for me to marvel at my good fortune that it had landed so, still upright, seal barely cracked . . . motionless . . . for just a second . . . while the vibrations and shock from that solid landing, that sudden stop, completed the transfer of energy
while the can was in my hand, kinetic
during the trip to floor, and now, explosive
as all that carbon dioxide, formerly in solution, under pressure, and held so by the walls of the can as vessel, became gaseous and made its way in a rude press of molecule upon molecule that would anticipate the crush of holiday shoppers through Walmart's doors in Black Friday openings years into the future.
It would be at least two more years before I would understand the conspiracy of Bernoulli and Venturi (even now, I can't swear to the exact laws in play) in that tiny crack at the top of that soda can. As that one blissful and deceiving second came to an end, so did all the meticulous preparation that had gone into making our room a shining example of spotless perfection. Soda shot straight up to the ceiling in a razor-fine line emanating from that seal the cracking of which had been the last act of my last finger to leave the can. Well not straight
up exactly. It was off center enough to turn the can from an upright fountain to a spinning grenade of sugary brown disaster. Not a wall, not a bed, not a mirror, not a closet, not a desk, not a roommate, not a far corner of that room beneath or above any bed, desk, or bookshelf escaped that spinning arc of The Real Thing
before it ceased its whirring and lay only gently rocking a last second or two in a bubbling puddle at the center of the room.
All things considered, it's a wonder I survived that night and the ire of my roommates.
Which brings us to the present.
I was putting away the Jameson in the liquor cabinet in the study tonight, and I bumped a can of Coke Zero from the top of the stack. The distance it fell to the floor wasn't even as far as that can traveled 35 years ago.
And yet, the rest, as they say, was history . . . repeating itself.
It's only appropriate that the last post I made here worried that RIM was on the rim. This post--and probably quite a few to follow--will be singing the praises of my new iPhone 4s.
"An Apple a Day" is really a title that looks to the future. A more apt title for this post might be "Never Say 'Never.'" I did. Say "never" that is. When Apple did their deal with the devil (AT&T) when the iPhone first came out, I swore I would never own one. It might be the coolest phone on the face of the earth, but my disdain for AT&T was so great that I couldn't conceive ever really minding cutting off my nose to spite my face on that one. I wasn't about to switch from Verizon. (Say what you will, they've been good to me over the years. If that ever changes, so will my cell carrier. Just ask RIM. I'm all about loyalty, but loyalty is a two-way street. Go to sleep at the wheel, start moving backwards, cease to innovate, and you're no longer deserving of loyalty; rather, you're just hoping that your consumer base will confuse that laudable quality with mere inertia. Dream on. Take a lesson from Palm. Heck, it's too late for that. Take a lesson from yourself.)
All of which is to say: I made the switch last week, and in the time since, buyer's remorse hasn't even been in my vocabulary.
Any of you longtime Apple devotees out there should just stop reading now, unless your smug-low-level light is on, in which case, what follows should extinguish it for good.
Often I've asked friends who gave up their PC for a Mac long ago what it is that they like most about Apple products, and frequently the answer has come back as, "It just works." At which point, I would always think, well so does my PC, my Blackberry, etc. Duh. Only in the last few days have I come to understand what that phrase has meant. My Blackberry for instance, would usually
do what I asked of it, s l o w l y, and often only after I had submitted my request in triplicate, for a second time, or third, earlier efforts having been returned stamped "Disapproved! Resubmit in 30 days."
The iPhone, on the other hand, well, it just works
. Freakin' instantly
. And I don't even have to learn how to hold my mouth right when I press the "buttons." Sure, there are some things I can't do on the iPhone that I could on the Blackberry. I'm going to miss those things. But I'm not going to miss those things
enough to miss the platform
they came with. Categories for my tasks, notes, and contacts. I'll miss that. I'll get over it. I'll fill that ten seconds of longing by accomplishing five tasks in the time it used to take to do one. And I'll do all five at the same time, switching seamlessly between them, and never see a message that says my application memory is low and don't I want to remove something?
I don't mean to become Apple's greatest fan, but I do mean, if I can find the time, to post now and then about some of the cooler apps I've found. I'm not much about games. I'm about getting things done and getting them done faster and with less frustration. In that respect, the iPhone 4s is making more strides than any gadget I've ever owned.
Yeah, I know. You told me so.
Hmmm. As I sit in the Richmond airport at 8:00 a.m., kicking myself, the veteran standby-flight traveler, for not knowing better than to show up for the comfortable 7:00 a.m. flight when the first flight of the day left just before 6:00 a.m.--with seats empty that should have been occupied by some of those ticketed passengers who filled the seat I'm not
in on the 7:00 a.m. flight either, I find I'm having the same kind of luck with getting any work done on the Blackberry. Apparently, the RIM network I'm not connected to at the moment is as full to overflowing as was that aircraft I'm not on. After two and a half years now on a Crackberry, this is only the second time I can remember when this has happened with a duration long enough to be noticeable to me. The disconcerting part is that those two times have happened within the last two weeks. In the lingo of an old aircrew evaluator, that makes this a trend
. And that
is cause for concern.
I switched to Blackberry from Palm because Palm went to sleep at the wheel. Having made their fortunes, they let service slide, software "upgrades" moved backwards, coming with fewer features and more glitches than each previous version. So, I did what any committed capitalist does: I voted with my feet and my $, and took my business elsewhere.
I'm not all that fond of change, really. I love adventure, and when forced to it, I can embrace the new cheese with Sniff and Scurry all day, but I'm also a great believer in the value of loyalty. The thing is, loyalty has to be a two-way street, especially in business. Companies that stay in business a long time have one of two things going for them: either they have no viable competition doing a better job, or they give consistently
excellent and reliable service. Only the fickle go looking elsewhere without good reason. That's what it means
to be fickle.
I'm not fickle, but nothing I'm reading about RIM, its latest outage
and its management principles is giving me a good feeling about what I should expect of Blackberry in the days to come. Most of what I'm finding online suggests that people aren't really happy working for RIM these days. Big companies are like the human body, the health of the whole is a reflection of an infinite number of smaller parts. The bottom line is just a face. Managers forget that too often. Some never learn it.
Get it right RIM. Quickly. It may be too late already. The bronze head may have already spoken. Time is. Time was. Time is passed.
Update: Okay, the original post is still below, but I find I need to apologize to those who know me and know my dog. I am so sorry for scaring everyone. Especially both my oldest daughters, my sister, and my former spouse. Sydni is still with us and doing great for a 13+ year old dog. But she's slowing down, can't climb the stairs by herself, is deaf as a post, and can't make it further than around the block before she's ready to be done with the walk. Not that she isn't as excited as ever to get out the door--she's just done by the time you turn the second corner. Still, she's as beautiful as ever (really, she looks better than she has in five years), and fuzzy and loving and she smiles. Especially when she's sleeping, which is most of the time. (I find I'm back to that stage I was in right after my girls were born, when I checked on them during naps and in the middle of the night to be sure they were still breathing.) And all of that is why I said I'm going to miss her. Both of Laura's old dogs passed this past year, and so I'm just hyper-conscious of Sydni's age and more grateful than ever for every day that begins and ends with nuzzles and husky-hugs from her. That's all. My bad. So sorry. Truly I am. I expect better of myself when it comes to proofing my own work from a reader's perspective, but clearly I skipped that step entirely with this quick little post whipped off during the workday to capture a nostalgic moment. Clearly. When my ex called tonight she'd been crying, as I expect I would to think I was hearing similar news of her dog. By the time she was laughing, after my profuse apologies, she summed up the gaff pretty well. "That's the last thing I would expect from you, the Wizard of Words." More like the Scrivener's Apprentice today. Again, sorry.
For some reason, the smell of the ocean is strong to me today--possibly not a good thing, it being about 100 miles away. But what has been nice is the flashback to all those morning and evening walks with Sydni in Charleston that usually ended on the pier jutting into the tidal marsh of Shem Creek, back in those days when the tide charts were part of my daily crosscheck. I am going to miss my dog.
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